March 16, 2007
Contact: Larry Parker
Phone: (973) 972-3000
UMDNJ’s Newark Campus Changes to
Environmentally Friendlier Biodiesel Fuel
Switch Requires No Change to Vehicle Engines, May Save on Fuel Costs
NEWARK — All diesel-powered vehicles on the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Newark campus have switched to a blend of diesel and agricultural oils for power, joining a nationwide trend in shifting to so-called “biodiesel fuel.”
Earlier this school year, the approximately 40 ambulances, shuttle buses and other vehicles on the Newark campus which formerly used diesel fuel began using “B20” biodiesel fuel - a blend of 80% diesel fuel and 20% biologically based fuel, soybean oil mixed with recycled vegetable oil. The diesel-powered fleet uses approximately 100,000 gallons of fuel per year.
Alan Binstein, UMDNJ’s director of logistical services who is in charge of the university’s overall 400 vehicle fleet, said the change allows 10% of the vehicles, all based in Newark, to use a far more environmentally friendly fuel without having to make any costly modifications to the fleet’s engines.
The biodiesel fuel is supplied through a state procurement contract by World Energy Alternatives, a Massachusetts firm . The contract calls for a state subsidy of up to $17,500 over the length of the one-year contract from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, if the price of B20 is more expensive than the price of regular diesel fuel at the time of any given fuel purchase. The subsidy is designed to encourage environmental protection measures by compensating UMDNJ for any increased costs to use B20 fuel.
“It’s nice to receive the rebate - but nice to help the environment, too,” Binstein said.
Ironically, the subsidy has not been necessary so far, since the B20 fuel has proven slightly cheaper than regular diesel fuel per gallon.
The Newark vehicle fleet has now reduced its diesel emissions by at least 10% and perhaps more than 20%. Stickers have been affixed to all shuttle buses touting the change, which read, “UMDNJ diesel powered vehicles are now powered with biodiesel, a renewable fuel for a cleaner and greener environment.”
UMDNJ already had purchased 12 Ford Escape hybrids (using a combination of gasoline and electric power) for its vehicle fleet in the past 18 months. These vehicles get up to 36 miles per gallon, and were also purchased under a state procurement contract - thus making them eligible for a Board of Public Utilities rebate of $4,000 per vehicle.
Binstein admits one drawback to the biodiesel initiative: That it may not be fully complying with UMDNJ ’s mission to improve people’s health by encouraging healthy eating. For passengers and drivers, he said, “Instead of the industrial smell let off by diesel fuel, you will have the faint smell of french fries.”
For photos of the new biodiesel stickers on UMDNJ shuttle buses, or to arrange an interview with Mr. Binstein, please contact Larry Parker at (973) 972-7265 or at email@example.com.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.